In Sanskrit, the meaning of the word yoga is “union”. This is often translated as the union of mind and body. We can also interpret it as the joining of the individual self with the greater, universal consciousness. Therefore, practicing yoga helps us to improve our mind-body communication and to align with the intelligence of nature. I see yoga for women as listening to the wisdom of our bodies and our monthly cycles. Also to consider the phases of our life as we move from maiden to mother (whether this includes birthing children or other projects) to wise woman.
What is the practice of yoga?
Yoga for women is based on the 8-limbed path of yoga as set out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The first six of these are what make up the actual practice of yoga as they are things we can actually do. The final two are states of being that can arise as a result of continuous and heart-led practice.
- Yamas – Moral code and ethical behaviour
- Niyamas – Personal practices and inner work
- Asana – Posture and finding ease in the body
- Pranayama – Guiding the flow of life force energy via the breath
- Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses from the outer to the inner world
- Dharana – Concentration of awareness within or onto an object of focus
- Dhyana – Effortless meditation and non-doing
- Samadhi – Blissful union of the self with the Self (you with the greater whole)
So as you can see, yoga is a many faceted practice that affects how we live, move, breath and think!
Key elements of the yoga for women practice
The main elements of a yoga for women class are yoga postures, breathwork and guided meditation practices to help you go within. This includes yoga nidra, a deeply restorative relaxation practice where the body is “asleep” whilst the mind remains alert. All yoga for women practices stem from traditional hatha yoga with some modifications to support feminine bodies and connection to shakti prana (feminine energy).
I will write another post about how we interpret limbs 1 and 2, the yamas and niyamas, in the yoga for women practice. These are like codes for a balanced and fulfilling life which should be practiced both on and off the mat. They include things like honesty, non-violence, moderation and sharing.
One very important niyama in the yoga for women practice is reflection and self-study by paying attention to the menstrual cycle and how you feel in the different phases. The other practices can then be adapted for where you are in your cycle. For example, choosing a more restorative practice during menstruation. Similarly, choosing practices which encourage blood flow to the ovaries prior to ovulation.
The benefits of regular yoga practice
Yoga has many known benefits for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. These include:
- Improved strength, mobility and balance
- Health of all bodily systems (muscular, skeletal, digestive, immune etc.)
- Reduced stress and tension
- Deeper and more easeful breathing
- Improved sleep
- A calmer, less reactive mental state
These benefits of are reported by those who practice the different elements of yoga regularly. A well-rounded yoga practice is not just a workout but a way to take care of yourself and improve your health in a holistic way.
Additional benefits of yoga for women
As well as the above benefits which apply to everyone, there are some additional potential benefits of yoga for women, including:
- Restore regular menstrual cycles
- Reduce menstrual cramping and excessive bleeding
- Eliminate or better management pre-menstrual symptoms
- Improve fertility
- Accept and appreciate the feminine body and all she can do
It is important to note that these apply to a specific yoga for women practice. Not all yoga practices were designed with women’s bodies in mind and sometimes can do more harm than good. For example, intense practice of dynamic ashtanga or vinyasa yoga without regard for the phases of the menstrual cycle can actually cause imbalances and impact female fertility in a negative way.
Join a yoga for women class
For those of you in Athens, Greece, I am currently teaching two yoga for women group classes per week. Click HERE for class descriptions, locations and timings if you’d like to join a class. For anyone in the rest of the world, please contact me if you would be interested in joining an online yoga for women class. I am considering setting up a weekly class on Sunday evenings (Eastern European timezone) if there is enough interest.
Over to you…
If you would like to work with me 1-2-1 to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We will create a plan tailored to your individual needs and vision for your health. I will then be there for support, guidance and accountability as you work towards your goals!
- Please like this post and share to support my business
- If you liked this post, follow my blog or subscribe by email to receive updates on new content
- Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates and inspiration